Electro-Motive Diesel supplied a large fleet of locomotives to Conrail and its predacessors. These locomotives ranged from the few SW1 switchers dating from the 1940s to the unique to Conrail SD80MAC.
Conrail 006 (later renumbered to Q1) was a test bed unit designed to test prime movers being worked on at the Juniata shops in Altoona PA. It was created from an SD45, CR 6097, nee-EL 3632, which wore the EL's bicentennial paint. Q1 survived through the end of the Conrail era and still serves NS at Juniata.
Conrail inherited its E unit fleet from the Penn Central and Erie Lackawanna. While the EL used its E's in midwestern freight service, Conrail quickly discontinued this practice and reduced it's E unit usage to commuter service in the east and executive service on the Office Car Special.
Conrail inherited a small fleet of operable F units on day one. These railfan favorites did not last long, as most were traded in to EMD for new GP38-2s. Only two, 1648 and 1792 were painted blue, and neither of these wore the Conrail "canopener" logo.
The GP15-1 was a somewhat unique locomotive. It was offered by EMD as a competitor not to another manufacturer's product line, but to railroads own rebuilding of older Geeps. Conrail's fleet of 100 of these lightweight road switchers arrived numbered in the 1600 series in 1979.
These units could be found system wide in use in their intended role as light road switchers working various locals both singly and in multiple unit lashups.
In the late 1950's the horsepower race was very heated and with the introduction of the 2500hp U25B from General Electric in 1960, EMD was caught short. It took 2 years to play catch-up and the result was the GP30.
Conrail units came from two predecessors that bought or inherited the 2250hp units. Reading ordered 20 units (5501-5520) from EMD in 1962 which became Conrail units 2168-2187. A total of 62 units from NYC and PRR were inherited by Penn Central (2188-2249) and became Conrail units 2188-2249.
The GP30 saw service into the early 1990's throughout the system. The final unit was retired in 1993.
For more information about CR 7635, Conrail's GP35 turned GP38, read the "Conrail Rebuilt a GP35 into a GP38" Conrail Fact.
Equipped with plows on both ends, several were cleared for use at the PP&L Strawberry Ridge, PA power plant (8040 â€“ 8064) and others were equipped with bi-directional cab arrangements (8154 â€“ 8162). The PC GP38-2â€™s were built without anti-climbers while the Conrail ordered units, 8163 forward, were. A small handful of other subtle differences can be found when comparing the different orders such as the fuel spout revision, nose ventilation lovers, an additional latch to the control compartment door, etc.
Conrail's GP-40's came from Penn Central they were assigning the number series CR 3000-3274. Conrail retired and sold off all their GP-40's except one (CR 3264) by 1995.
These high horsepower (at the time) locomotives were originally used heavily on TV and other high priority light trains. Over time they found their way into various other uses, from Road Railers to mineral trains, to local service toward the end of Big Blue.
The Conrail GP8 and GP10 fleet originally began their lives as EMD GP7 and GP9's built for a variety of roads in the early fifties. Conrail, with hundreds of units lined up in graveyards and in dire need for reliable power decided to begin a GP rebuild program.
The railroad selected the Illinois Central Gulf RR's Paducah, KY shop to perform the work in 1976. At Paducah, the short hood high noses were chopped for better visibilty and the control stands were set up for the new short hood lead operation. The prime movers were overhauled and all former GP7's received the 567BC while the GP9's received 567C's. Air filter work was also performed, outfitting the new Geeps with Dynacell paper air filters.
Nine GP8 units were turned out during the third quarter of 1976 wearing new CR paint and road numbers 5720-5728. Sixteen GP10's were released as well sporting CR paint and numbered 7560-7575.
By 1978, Conrail desired more from the rebuild program and selected another 39 GP7's to be rebuilt. This program was not as extensive as the original consisting of only mechanical and electrical work. The dynamic brakes were removed, and the control stand remained setup for long hood forward operation. Paducah was not the only shop contracted this time around. The work was split between Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific's Silvis, IL shop, Morrison Knudsen's Boise, ID shop and ICG Paducah. The units were returned to Conrail during the third quarter of 1978 wearing 5400 series CR road numbers. The 1976 batch (5720-5728) were subsequently renumbered 5400-5408.
59 GP9's were also sent out for rebuilding in 1978 split between Paducah, Morrison Knudsen and Precision National Corporation in Mount Vernon, IL. This was the first rebuilding program PNC had undertaken and after the 6th unit, Conrail terminated the PNC contract due to quality and delivery issues. The remainder of PNC's contract was given to Paducah for completion. The same work, electrical and mechanical, was done and by early 1979 Morrison Knudsen turned out 17 units (7513-7529), PNC 6 (7530-7537) and 36 from Paducah (7545-7597). Road numbers 7532, 7536, 7538-7544, 5414-5427 were never used.
The GP8's lasted well into the 1990's and though most all were stored in the mid 80's, all but 1 were reactivated in 1987 when a batch of GP38-2's went off lease. The units were again returned to storage until 1989 when less than a dozen were reactivated again to make up for the loss of 10 MP15's that were returned to their lessor. This was the last active group until April 11, 1991 when the entire class was retired.
Numbered 6358-6524, Conrail's SD40-2s were found system wide heading up trains of all varieties as well as working on helpers over the famous Horseshoe Curve on the Pittsburgh Line.
Conrail acquired its SD40-2 fleet new from EMD in 1977, 78 and 79.
Conrail's SD40-2s had a feature unique to the road, the substitution of EMD's older Flexicoil trucks in place of the newly developed (and mistakenly believed to be flawed) HTC trucks that were delivered to all other SD40-2 owners.
EMD produced over 100 of these monsters and CR was one of four railroads to roster them, 13 to be exact. Adopted from the Erie Lackawanna, these locomotives featured dual control stands, cab mounted air horns, low profile fans, and though not officially mentioned in Conrails' Locomotive Data books, some were cleared for operation in third rail territory. The railroad also defined the entire class as being equipped with snowplows on both ends with the exception of 6664. While at one point this may have been the case several photographs have proven this not entirely true.
Conrail had 135 "fightin fifties" numbered 6700 through 6834 and built from 1983 through 1986. Conrail's fleet of SD50s (the second largest in the country) was delivered with a number of variations from "stock" EMD units.
Conrail's first three orders (delivered in 1983, 84 and 85) all came equipped with EMD's older Flexicoil truck instead ot the standard, at the time, HTC-II truck. This was because of Conrail's irroneously blaming the HTC truck for a number of derailments involving AMTRAK units. It turned out not to be the fault of the truck, and the last order that arrived in 1986 was delivered with the standard EMD trucks.
The second two orders (6779-6834) were also delivered with a large 4500gal fuel tank, as opposed to the 4000gal tank on the previous two orders.
For a more indepth analysis of the Conrail SD50, visit the CRCYC.
In 1985 Conrail bought the three EMD demonstrators from EMD, and later went back to the well 4 years later, in 1989, for another 25 standard cab units. The demonstrators were numbered 6840, 6841, and 6842, while the later order was numbered from 6843 through 6867.
The SD60I (Isolated) "Whispercab" was essentially an SD60M with an improved "isolated" cab (hence the "I") that was designed to minimize noise inside the cab and reduce vibration providing a better working environment for Train & Engine service employees. Conrail purchased its SD60Is as "kits" from EMD, who did not have the production capacity to meet the order at the time. These kits were assembled by the Juniata shops in Altoona. Conrail's SD60Is were numbered from 5575 through 5654, and one exception, 5544. CR 5544 was the first unit designed with the new cab and became the standard for subsequent orders.
The SD60I's are identical to the SD60M's with only a few spotting features telling them apart, the rubber nose seam and reverse mounted nose door.
From my own personal experience, the SD60I is the premier model for sound quality. In notch 8 with the amps in the red, crews can talk at a normal level without having to scream. These cabs are infact so quiet, it's common to have to open the window on occasion to make sure the horn still works!
The units were built with a 2 piece front windshield and 4 piece side windows without sun visors. The side windows are built on an easy slide track design and combined with the tinted glass provide superior crew comfort.
SD60M's fit the bill for new power in 1992 when Conrail ordered 74 SD60M's. Within the SD60M class is one main spotting difference; marker lights. 5500-5514 were built with FRA flush mounted marker lights until a study done within Conrail declared the protruding lights caused a safety concern. Subsequently, the remaining order, 5515-5574 were recessed.
The units were built with a 2 piece front windshield and 4 piece side windows without sun visors. The side windows are built on an easy slide track design and combined with the tinted glass provide superior crew comfort. Conrail's SD60Ms were numbered in the 5500-5574 series, with one exception: 5544.